The legacy of Alvin Ailey returns to Memorial Hall once again.
After performing on this stage more than 20 times now, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is returning to Chapel Hill for its U.S. tour, "Ailey Revealed," on Feb. 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. Alvin Ailey Dance Theater is a longtime artistic partner to Carolina Performing Arts.
"I know the brilliance of Ailey's dancers will bring audiences to their feet as they continue to further Alvin Ailey's legacy of holding up a mirror to society while uplifting hearts and minds with their unparalleled artistry," said Robert Battle, artistic director of the company in a press release for the tour.
The new tour will feature seven dances across two days of performances. One of which will be “BUSK,” a dance that made its company premiere in 2019, according to the press release. Hope Boykin, a dancer who is in her 20th and final season with the company, said she is thrilled to be a part of it.
"It's fast-moving, it's quick-paced, and some days in rehearsal I felt like I was literally too old to do it," Boykin said. "I was like, I don't know if I want to get down on the floor on a half count and back up on the other half of the count, you know?"
What isn't changing for the upcoming tour is the company's performances of “Revelations,” a dance that Ailey choreographed himself in 1960.
Boykin said “Revelations” is a dance with history and lineage unlike any other, and performing a dance that speaks to Ailey's memories and the human spirit will always be a highlight for her.
"It's really an honor each time the curtain goes up and you start to hear applause because this is what people are waiting for, this work is what people want to see," Boykin said. "And so, knowing that I'm able to be a part of that legacy is pretty great."
Regardless of favorites, Boykin said the unifying theme for the dances is one of celebration.
"Dance is one of the art forms that to me, so easily breaks down barriers," Boykin said. "Everyone moves, there's always, whether you're mourning with movement, with the sway, you're celebrating with movement, you're reaching your arms out to welcome someone, all of these things are a part of what we do."
Amber Harris, a first-year, said these kinds of universal movements are what she thinks anyone who watches the performances can enjoy.
"I know there are some spiritual things in his dances, but also the movement is so beautiful and strong that I think anyone would be drawn to it," Harris said.
Harris said she grew up dancing, and that connecting with the dancing community through opportunities like student tickets at CPA is something she would encourage all UNC students to do.
"Experience something different besides doing homework or sitting in your dorm watching Netflix, actually go see something live, it's just super fun and different," Harris said.
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